As Ian Morrison, director for Area F, explained in last week’s issue of the Gazette, the CVRD is looking to adopt a new garbage and recycle collection plan for all of its electoral areas.
This would mean borrowing $1.77 million to purchase equipment, including three dual compartment trucks at $260,000 each, and 17,000 totes. The new service, pending the successful completion of the Alternative Approval Process, would see the service begin in June of 2013.
“Residents would receive streamlined customer service and easy-roll totes, see no change to their current bi-weekly service, and have their user fees go down slightly in the near future and stabilize over the long term at a standard inflationary rate,” said CVRD Engineering and Environmental Services chair Lori Iannidinardo.
For Areas F and I, this would mean no real change to what is collected, or when it is collected. The only real change would be to the trucks that pick up the garbage and recycle, and the totes that are used by each home. Compost is not part of the plan at this time, but could be introduced later on.
At the open house at the Cowichan Lake Arena on Aug. 29, Lake Cowichan resident, Paul Anderson, wasn’t buying it.
Anderson is concerned with the fact that this plan means that there will be a lack of competition to keep rates down because contracts would not be tendered to the private sector.
“So, I don’t see how you’re going to do it cheaper,” Anderson grilled Jason Adair, CVRD superintendent of Solid Waste Operations. “You can’t put it out to tender anymore. If your boys want a raise in pay there, if they’re union, we’re in for it.”
“User fees went up 60 per cent two years ago, so we’re confident rates would stabilize better than that,” said Adair.
Adair also explained that since 1999, the CVRD has contracted the collection out to four or six different companies, but the competition is just not there anymore.
Bob McDonald, CVRD manager for recycling and waste management explained that there was only one company that bid on this contract before the CVRD decided to take this new route.
“You can tell me anything tonight, but only time will tell,” said Anderson when asked what he thought of the plan being able to lower user fees for tax payers.
Honeymoon Bay resident, Guy Patten, wasn’t too persuaded by the collection plan either.
“I’m not sure,” said Patten. “They’re pricing it out good, but come the day when the compostables come along then it’s going to cost us a lot more. It doesn’t matter if you do your own composting at home, you’re still going to have to pay for it.”
Patten also does not agree with the CVRD borrowing money to put the plan in action. “They’ve already got a stream of revenue, use it. But no, they want their cake and eat it too. Then they’re being sneaky and doing this AAP thing, which I think is wrong, wrong, wrong. Count the yes votes, don’t count the no votes.”
Coun. Bob Day and Mayor Ross Forrest were also at the open house.
Day is a little skeptical about the CVRD actually being able to deliver on its promise to bring fees down.
“They’ve done the math and they say it’s not going to up much. I would say it’s not going to go down, that’s all. They might sneak it down in the beginning. But it’s going to be better for the workers and better for the environment,” said Day.
He’s also skeptical about the eventual compost component of the plan. Day says he would not vote for any plan that means trucking organics outside of the Cowichan Lake area.
“Other people love the idea of the organic part because it’s the cool thing to do, but what’s so cool about sticking it in a diesel truck and taking it [miles away],” said Day. “But if the [new CVRD] trucks make it more efficient, then that’s cool, the less time the trucks are on the road, the better.”
Forrest says it makes sense financially for the service to be provided by the CVRD and not private contractors.
“If you contract it out they’re trying to get their money back in seven years, whereas with the CVRD it’s over 15, so you can reduce costs. But, you know, I haven’t listened enough to the conversation to say one way or the other.”
There are three more open houses scheduled over the next month where Cowichan Valley residents will be given the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns or support.
Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the Eagles’ Hall in Duncan; Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre; and Monday, Sept. 17 at the North Oyster Community Hall. All open houses will be held between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
More information can be found a zerowastecowichan.ca.